Can B&W Seres 80 802 Sound This Good?

I just picked up a pair of Series 80 802's on a whim from Ebay, out of curiosity, and I am stunned at how good they sound. I am a speaker nut, and I have owned dozens of speakers including several ProAc, Audio Physic Virgo II, Merlin VSM Millenium, Dunlavy SC-IVa, Maggie 3.6, and most recently Vienna Acoustics Mahlers. The Mahlers are fantastic and were my favorite, but I am shocked to find the this old pair of 802 is in the same league sonically. They sound very different from the Mahlers, but the 802's excel in a number of areas. Image specificity not only in left to right, but front to back is fantastic. Vocal recordings where the singer is center stage appear as a forward image ahead and above the speaker in a scary in the room way that I've never experienced before. The bass, which I have often heard criticism of with 802's is as good as I've heard in my room; very tight and deep. The series 802 is not ported like the newer versions so I don't know if this is the reason. They play very loudly without strain and or harshness.

My 802's came with sound anchors, but without a bottom cover over the crossovers. I don't know if this means the crossovers have been modified. I have listened to them with a an Audio Research VT200 amp and a pair of Odyssey Stratos monoblocks with the Plitron reference upgrade. This is the first time I have actually preferred the sound of the solid state amp. Very clean and transparent.

Am I losing my critical ear?
I assume you are talking about the original 802 from the early 80's. As good as they sound, the 802 Series III are even better and the 802 Nautilus beats them both. Progress.
I owned B&W speakers for years. Only recently replaced a pair of 802 III's with a pair of Revel Ultima Studios. I sold the 802's to a friend with the Sound Anchors and he recently bought a pair of MIT Oracle speaker wires and I can tell you that these speakers are still one of the best values in the speaker market - used or new. The III's were a significant improvement over the II's and I can only imagine that they would be even more so over the vintage you are referring to. I also feel that solid state amps are a good match for these speakers unless you can afford reference level tube amps which will give sufficient power.
Give some credit to the rest of your gear, especially the Odyssey monoblocks! I've heard the newer B&W 803's go from simply awful with very expensive McIntosh gear, and also with a Rotel setup, then to something much more special with Pararound JC-1 monoblocks and also Cary Tube gear, which was amazing. It seemed that amp matching in particular is critical, and cost of the amp wasn't the deciding factor either. Not the best sounding speakers available for the price I have found, but when mated with proper electronics they sound so much better then they do at the typical dealer showroom it is stunning!

Would you mind giving your impressions of the Odyssey reference monoblocks?
Hi Jerry - Thank goodness I stumbled upon your review here! I might make an offer on this 802 Series 80 but am hesitant since many people regard them as not so good speakers. Would you kindly inform me as to why they are rated so poorly? And I am particularly curious about what kinds of music you listened to on them. I am curious about piano and massed violin reproduction both of which I am very picky about. I mostly listen to classical music.

I know no one has time for anything these days. I truly appreciate it!

Hey everyone,
I have a pair of the vintage 802s80’s running on vintage Mac 2105, and C28.  I’m not an expert, only know what sounds good to me.  Vinyl, reel to reel, or DAC (Audioquest Beetle) I love these speakers. Paid about $1000 for the pair and think it was well worth it
I'll bet you're not losing your ear. I think the newer 800 diamond tweeters impart a brilliance/fatiguing nature that I can't deal with, so those older ones may not be so tough many of the times I heard them, but not all.

Those Mahlers I've heard and almost bought years ago but they are very different than 802s. I could listen to those a long time. I'd vote for the sound of those sealed woofers on the 802s as well.
I want to hear about the Odyessy mono-blocks as well. Most of what I have read is very positive.